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Was there a defining moment in your life when you knew you were going to become a writer? If so, what was it?
I do have a moment. It’s only defining because it was when the lightbulb in my head went off and the neon sign flashed a brilliant pink. I was consoling myself with a stack of favorite romance author titles and a few new books I had purchased for the weekend. I had been pondering what to do with my life for a few years. I had a good life, a good career but something was missing. I wanted to do something that would engage my mind but at the same time I would be able to create something for myself. I poured over personality books and career books to find out if maybe I matched them up wrong in my current configuration. Everything seemed too hard. (I laugh now because there is nothing I’ve done that’s harder than writing (and editing!) a full length manuscript.) I was writing in my journal about how directionless I had been feeling when it dawned on me that I had always been a writer. I had written stories and journals since before I could remember. I also had devoured romance books since I was twelve and loved reading anything since I learned how. I thought this would be sooo easy. I’ve read so many romance books and often wanted to change some of them to how I thought they should go. It seemed the perfect fit to write my own. Well, it has been easy and incredible difficult. But I guess I finally found the correct personality and career configuration because I’m still at it and can’t image my life without it.
When you write a story do you see it unfold as one big picture, or do you add layering in subsequent drafts?
I think it’s both. Ideas come to me at odd moments and they usually get jotted down on paper or in an electronic file. Then they simmer for a while. I see the idea unfold into a story a lot like a movie but perhaps it’s more like a series of trailers. I have a general idea of the whole picture and get it down as quickly as possible. When it’s time to edit I usually get moments where more details spring up and make the story fuller with each edit I do. This is probably because the edit process makes me slow down (like a snail) and I have time to really get into the meat of the story.
How many drafts do you usually write before you send your work to your editor?
Oh crap. I was supposed to count them? On my current work in progress I would say I’m on draft seven or eight. Those are full manuscript edits. Sometimes I think I’m suffering from perfectionist syndrome until I come across a really bad chapter and then I breathe a sigh of relief that no one had read it but me. But I also edit a chapter several times as I’m going through the manuscript. I could easily have read and made edits to a chapter four to five times in one day before I call it quits then the next day I read it over again just to make sure. (This is why I’m in editing hell right now. But you know us writers do anything for our babies!)
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